“We want the cars to fly right out of the air,” said Brandon Rooney, 6, a Cub Scout in Pack 51 Greenwood, and first grader at Greenwood Elementary School.
Rooney was the first place winner of the pack’s Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Pinewood Derby, which was held at the Greenwood Community Church at 805 Main Avenue Saturday.
Along with Rooney, the second, third and fourth place winners, Andrew Clyde, 6, Nick Trainer, 8, and Brenden O’Toole, 6, respectively, have advanced to the Narragansett Council Pinewood Derby Regional Race scheduled for March 24 at Exeter/West Greenwich High School at 930 Nooseneck Road. Race time is 1 p.m.
The boys said they were thrilled not only about their victories, but also of the awards they earned.
“I feel good because I got a trophy,” Clyde said.
Trainer felt the same.
“I’m really happy,” he said. He also said he learned that “it doesn’t matter what place you came in, it just matters how hard you work.”
Second grader Luke Meunier, 8, agreed. While he didn’t place, he and the rest of the Scouts received medallions for their efforts.
“It’s fun for everyone because everyone gets an award,” he said.
Meunier also believes the race was a great learning experience. His father, Cub Master Ray Meunier, helped him build his car.
“My dad showed me how to use an electric sander and a spray paint gun,” said Luke. “It was pretty cool.”
Other Scouts, including fourth grader Owen John, 9, second grader Aidan Duffy, 8, and third grader Jack Moran, 9, who celebrated his birthday the day of the race, said the event was exhilarating.
For Moran, the best part of the day was, “Racing with your friends.” O’Toole’s family members, such as his sister, Erin, as well as his father, Dan, were there to watch him zoom into fourth place. Erin said she was proud to watch her brother win and Dan enjoyed making the car with his son.
“There’s definitely a lot of excitement to it,” Dan said. “They get to see something that came from a block of wood and make it into a car. It was fun working together.”
Ray said that’s the whole point. Also, he feels the event teaches Scouts a sense of friendly competition and gives them a feeling of accomplishment.
“That’s what I’m trying to show these kids,” said Ray.
To prepare for the race, Scout participants were each given an Official BSA Pinewood Derby kit as Christmas gifts and began creating their cars.
“We got a block of wood and then had to cut it into a car,” said Scout Egan Usler, 8, a third grader at Greenwood. “And we put things on it to make it go faster.”
Aside from wood, wheels and pins are included in the kit. No loose materials are permitted. Wheel bearings, washers, bushings and wheel weights were not allowed.
The objective of the derby is to encourage Scouts to design and build a wooden car with a parent or other adult, while staying within certain guidelines. The car must not exceed 2.75 inches, with a length of no more than 7 inches, and weigh 5 ounces or less.
The track, said Ray, is nearly 40 feet long and stored in the church.
“The track is actually older than me,” he said. “A construction company built it at least 40 or 50 years ago.”
For the regional race, Ray is responsible to inspect and register cars before the big day. On race day, the car owner will be given a short time during the check-in and car inspection period to make minor corrections to meet all the technical specifications. Car owners must supply their own tools.
Each Pack is required to send two Registered Cub Scout Leaders who will sit with their Cub Scouts for the entire race to ensure proper Scouting behavior during the event.